About Cat Cora
Chef Cat Cora
On and off-screen, Chef Cat Cora continues to make a lasting impression on the culinary community. Her food aspirations began at an early age, and by 15, she developed a business plan for her own restaurant. In 2005, she made television history on Food Network’s Iron Chef America as the first and only female Iron Chef, and in 2006 Bon Appétit Magazine named her Executive Chef and bestowed her with their Teacher of the Year Award.
From partnering with Macy’s for a new restaurant concept that premiered in December 2008 to her first stand alone restaurant that opened at Walt Disney World BoardWalk Resort in September 2009, Cat’s bringing a taste of her culinary influence to both coasts.
Cooking for a Cause
In 2004, Cat took her advocacy role to the next level by founding Chefs for Humanity in response to the epic Asian Tsunami disaster. Inspired by Doctors Without Borders, Chefs for Humanity was created as a way to bring the culinary community together in an effort to raise awareness and provide resources for educational, emergency and hunger-related causes.
In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Cat realized how CFH could further provide valuable and necessary aid to disaster response efforts. Upon hearing about the devastating disaster, Cat gathered fellow chefs and joined the American Red Cross to offer victims and volunteers relief in her home state of Mississippi. Cat and other volunteer chefs, were onsite cooking and feeding hundreds of hurricane victims and relief workers.
Cat has garnered great recognition from leading agencies involved in food aid and nutrition through her work with CFH. In 2006, the United States fund for UNICEF named her a nutritional spokesperson to raise awareness for humanitarian crises around the world. In 2007, Cat had the profound experience of traveling through Honduras and Nicaragua with the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) to witness firsthand the breadth and scope of hunger that results from poverty, climate change, and natural disasters.
Already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, the destruction caused by the 2010 Haiti Earthquake created an unprecedented hunger crisis that continues to affect millions of people today. Cat and CFH raised $100,000 and worked with WFP to identify how these funds could be used to address hunger sustainably. With this contribution, CFH enabled WFP to purchase Clean Cookstoves for use in WFP’s school meals programs. These cookstoves offer a hunger relief solution benefiting thousands of people with nutritious meals, as well as those cooking meals who are now able to breathe cleaner air and cook on safer, fuel-efficient stoves, without the risk and time associated with cooking with firewood.
Over the past several years, Cat and CFH have continued to champion international hunger relief efforts through support of organizations like WFP, as well as domestic hunger relief and nutrition issues working with other non-profit agencies and the U.S. government.
In June 2010, Cat joined First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her Chefs Move to Schools program, which challenges chefs from around the country to help solve the epidemic of childhood obesity by providing nutritional guidance and education to create healthy meals. Cat is currently working on adopting an elementary school near her home in Santa Barbara, CA.
Cat’s upbringing in Jackson, Mississippi’s intimate Greek community had an incalculable influence on her career as well as her commitment to using her talents to help others. Having been raised by a family where cooking and eating were the center of life, Cat understands the power food has to unite us all. This is ultimately why she created CFH and why she is dedicated to doing everything she can to help end hunger and malnutrition.
Cat resides in the Santa Barbara area with her family, including her biggest supporters, her four sons.